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Camel Genome

The Bactrian Camels Genome Sequencing and Analysis Consortium presents its 2.01 Gb draft genome sequence of the Bactrian camel genome in Nature Communications this week. The group sequenced both an 8-year-old wild male Bactrian camel from Altai province, Mongolia, and a 6-year-old male Bactrian camel from Inner Mongolia, China. From this, the researchers were able to identify rapidly evolving genes involved in metabolism that may enable the camels to endure life in the desert.

"We found that many genes related to metabolism are under accelerated evolution in the camel, compared with other even-toed ungulates such as cattle," Yixue Li, from the Shanghai Center for Bioinformation Technology and a co-author of the paper, tells Nature News.

Nature News says that those metabolism genes that allow the camels to have high blood glucose levels are also implicated in type 2 diabetes in humans. "A closer study of how camels respond to insulin may help to unravel how insulin regulation and diabetes work in humans," it adds.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.